tv The Ed Show MSNBC December 15, 2012 12:00am-1:00am PST
is. and i believe these tragedies have taken place in nevada, in oregon, and wisconsin are waking america up. and we're looking at this issue now, and we want action. >> okay, thank you so much, chief johnson. larry johnson, thank you, sir, for joining us as well, and thank you cliff van zandt. and chris jansing, my colleague at msnbc. that's "hardball" for now. thanks for being with us. "the ed show" with ed schultz picks up msnbc's continuing coverage of the sandy hook elementary school shooting right now. good evening, americans, and welcome to "the ed show" from new york. there are tragedies in life that shake our souls and break our hearts. today the nation experienced one of those tragedies. every american will struggle to come to grips with what happened today in a small community in connecticut. sandy hook elementary school in the small community of about
27,000 residents was the site of a shooting rampage. at this hour we know 26 people at the school were shot and killed by a lone gunman. 20 of those deceased were children. surviving students and their parents said teachers ordered children to hide in closets. witnesses reported hearing dozens of shots, as many as 100 rounds. police found the shooter dead. officers never fired a shot. the gunman's mother was found dead at a newtown location where the gunman lived. police have released no motive for the attack. the weapons used in the shooting were all legally purchased and were registered to the gunman's mother. an emotional president obama addressed the nation this afternoon from the white house. >> we've endured too many of these tragedies in the past few years. and each time i learn the news i
react not as a president but as anybody else would, as a parent. and that was especially true today. i know there is not a parent in america who doesn't feel the same overwhelming grief that i do. the majority of those who died today were children. beautiful little kids between the ages of 5 and 10 years old. they had their entire lives ahead of them, birthdays, graduations, weddings, kids of their own. among the fallen were also teachers, men and women who devoted their lives to helping our children fulfill their
dreams. so our hearts are broken today. for the parents and grandparents, sisters and brothers of these little children, and for the families of the adults who were lost. as a country we have been through this too many times. whether it's an elementary school in newtown or a shopping mall in oregon or a temple in wisconsin or a movie theater in aurora or a street coroner chicago, these neighborhoods are our neighborhoods and these children are our children. and we're going to have to come together and take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this, regardless of the politics. this evening michelle and i will do what i know every parent in america will do, which is hug our children a little tighter, and we'll tell them that we love them, and we'll remind each other how deeply we love one
another. but there are families in connecticut who cannot do that tonight. and they need all of us right now. may god bless the memory of the victims. and in the words of scripture, heal the brokenhearted and bind up their wounds. >> much like the president of the united states, americans are experiencing a wide range of emotions tonight. and it's difficult to process them. these are photos no one will be able to forget, the sight of crying children being led away from a scene of mass murder should shake the country to its core. and it has. the question must be asked, how many more scenes like this one are we going to see? as a nation we need to do something, and something has to be done. this tragedy stopped the country in its tracks and brought the president of the united states to tears. as a parent, as an american, as
a human being it's hard not to have the same feelings that i had back on 9/11, that maybe all of us had. connecticut governor dan malloy felt the same way. >> i -- i was mayor of stamford on 9/11 when our state lost many of its citizens, and i lost a number of my fellow citizens and friends. i never thought that in a public career that i would have to face these kinds of circumstances or that they would visit themselves upon this community or the people of connecticut. we'll get through this. and our prayers at this time have to go out to the families. and so as i began by thanking those who have expressed their desires to be helpful, the number one way to be helpful is to say a prayer or send a best
wish or to be thinking of these individuals who have suffered so mightily today. >> in the middle of the holiday season america is reckoning with a crisis of our culture. details will still emerge, but the sadness will not go away. joining me tonight from the scene, the latest bringing us is going to be msnbc's chris jansing, who is in newtown, connecticut. these are days that we wish on no one in this business. it is very hard. it's very emotional. it's been a day of tears and broken voices all day long. chris, i know that there is a lot of prayer taking place in that community tonight. what's the latest? >> reporter: you are right about that, ed. there are at least three prayer services, memorial services that are being held in this small community. and the pictures we have seen coming out of one them show that the crowds are overflowing. people are wondering what can they do, how can they cope. and of course the question that happens always in these circumstances, and that is why. some of the details are
beginning to emerge. we know all of this began this morning when a man who police say is 20-year-old adam lanza reportedly shot his mother in the home that they shared, then went over to sandy hook elementary, where she was a kindergarten teacher, and we are told opened fire, killing 20 young children. this is a school where the students were from 5 to 10 years old. and six other adults. before turning the gun on himself. police have never officially said that this was a suicide, but they say no officials fired any shots. and you saw the sound there from the governor just moments after he made that brief statement before the assembled media. he walked by me. and it was difficult not to be moved by the look on his face. and in fact, within just minutes of coming off the exit and driving into this town a little earlier today, ed, i glanced into a car next to me. there was a very solemn driver in the car, a man, and then in the passenger seat a woman who was crying.
and the emotion has been pouring out in this community all day long. it's been a day of some confusion. the alleged shooter was carrying apparently his brother's i.d. he was later arrested in hoboken, new jersey and told police that his brother had some mental health issues. so we may be able to start to get some idea of what was in the mind of this troubled young man. it will do little, i assure you, to calm the deep sense of loss and immense tragedy that they're feeling here in newtown tonight. now, behind me i'll just make one last mention, that that is the volunteer fire station which has been kind of a staging area for some of the officials who have come here from all over the region. and federal officials as well. it is also where the parents gathered, those who were not reunited with their children and got the horrific news that their children would not be coming out of that school alive.
it remains an active crime scene. is expected to for several more days. and heartbreakingly, not a single person inside there has been able to be positively identified, ed. >> chris jansing, there are the horrific details, and there are heroes. the first responders who were there, those professionals that were in that classroom that were dealing with the survivors. what do we know, how they got them out and kept them from the tragedy as best possible? >> we know that they responded very quickly. there were tactical teams. there were local and state officials. there were k-9 units. of course, by the time they got there, there was little they could do except secure those children and get them out of there. we know that they went classroom to classroom. and we should say that the shooting happened in one area of this school in two separate rooms. they went from classroom to classroom. and the scene was so horrific, and they didn't want the
children to see it. and many of them clearly were crying. they had them hold hands and asked them to close their eyes, and they were led out. i can also tell you from talking to a couple of local officials here, and i think it is important to note that the people who are working this, many of them are people who live there. they know the people who were in that school. they know the teachers. they know the students. they're their friends and neighbors. so they are not only having to do their jobs, but they're doing it at a time of great very close and personal tragedy as well, ed. >> chris, i know that you have covered tragedies like this in the past. but one of the things that this country is having a very hard time to come to grips with tonight is the age of the children. >> i don't think there is any doubt about that. i was at columbine for at least i think it was probably two weeks. at that time we had not seen anything like what we saw there.
and there was a lot of conversation at that point about how do we stop this from happening again. well, 12, 13 years later i was back in aurora, colorado and talking to many of the same people that i had sadly gotten to know during the columbine shootings. and then earlier in the year i was in arizona when gabby giffords and the others were shot there. and you do have a sense everywhere you go, obviously, that there is a senselessness to it, there is a lack of understanding, that no amount of information that we get about the shooter can truly help us to understand how someone could do this. but there is a heaviness here that is almost undescribable, ed. and i think it is related to the fact that we're looking at these young, innocent children that if a shooter goes into a elementary school and opens fire on a classroom, he knows that the victims are going to be children who should by all rights, as so many people have said, have
their whole lives ahead of them. and the sense of loss, the enormity of the loss is difficult for me to put into words here tonight. >> chris jansing in newtown, connecticut. thank you for joining us tonight and reporting here on "the ed show" on msnbc. thanks so much. the magnitude of this tragedy is enormous for this community of newtown, connecticut. people are turning to houses of worship and faith leaders. several churches in newtown held candlelight vigils tonight. "nbc nightly news" spoke with monsignor robert weiss earlier today, who put in perspective the emotional damage facing the people of newtown. >> what can you say? i mean, there's really no words to express the magnitude of this. you know, you send your child to school. you think they're going to be safe. they're happy. these are little kids. they didn't have any worries. you know, and all of a sudden you get a phone call or you get a text that there's been a shooting at your child's school. and you know, it's just a matter
of hugging them and crying with them and praying with them. the intensity of emotion is really hard to put into words. there was sobbing, there was yelling, there was people throwing themselves on the floor in absolute upsetment. it was a whole range of emotions. and there were people hugging each other, settling down, and then it would come back to them again. and you'd hear an outburst periodically. but it was very, very heavy emotion. how do you recover from something as horrible as this, you know? how do you help a child have to walk into the front door of that school, you know, the next day that they have class and not see their principal or any of the other staff that really cared about them or their friends? i noticed this morning when the children were being dismissed, some of them wanted to go home, but they were conflicted because they didn't want to leave their friends. you know, they were really conflicted this morning about whether to leave or not. you know, they wanted to just be together. and yet their parents, you know, were here to take them home. it's surreal. it just doesn't seem real. like one of the ladies, her phone just went off because it
was time to take her little boy to a cub scout meeting. and she realized, you know, i can't take him now. so those kind of moments are really, really hard on these parents. oh, it was awful. excuse me. i mean, these are 20 people the week before christmas that just lost their joy, you know. how do you live with that? you know. and some of them are doing the best they can. but a lot of them are just absolutely -- they're devastated. >> we'll have much more on the tragic shooting in newtown, connecticut. coming up, congressman jerrold nadler and dan gross of the brady campaign join me next to react to the white house's comment that today is not the day to talk about gun control. you're watching "the ed show" on msnbc. we're right back. le like to pred could never happen to them. and that their homeowners insurance protects them. [ thunder crashes ] it doesn't.
as a country, we have been through this too many times. and we're going to have to come together and take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this, regardless of the politics. >> president obama earlier today speaking about the school shooting in newtown, connecticut. despite the tragedies in arizona, in wisconsin, and
colorado, despite the countless number of people who fall victim to gun violence each day, every day, the president has not pushed for tougher gun laws while in office. nor did he offer any specifics on legislation that he might support today. in fact, white house press secretary jay carney told reporters earlier today that today is not the day to talk about gun control. new york mayor michael bloomberg sees it differently. he is calling out the white house and congress for their inaction on the issue. with all the carnage from the gun violence in our country, he said, "it's almost impossible to believe that a mass shooting in a kindergarten class could happen. it has come to that. not even kindergartners learning their abcs are safe. we've heard after columbine that it was too soon to talk about gun laws. we heard after virginia tech, after tucson, after aurora and oak creek. and now we're hearing it again. for every day we wait 34 more people are murdered with guns. today many of them were 5-year-olds. president obama rightly sent his heartfelt condolences to the families in newtown, connecticut. but the country needs him to send a bill to congress to fix
this problem. calling for meaningful action is not enough. we need immediate action. we have heard all the rhetoric before. what we have not seen is leadership, not from the white house and not from congress. that must end today." that statement from michael bloomberg, mayor of new york city. let's turn to dan gross, president of the brady campaign to prevent gun violence, and also congressman jerrold nadler of new york. gentlemen, thank you for your time tonight. we have experienced a wide range of emotions today. this is absolutely as bad as it could possibly get. who could fathom something like this could happen? but mr. gross, could this change anything? could this horrific event really be a moment in american history where we actually do something about gun violence? >> i really believe it will change things. you know, there's been a national conversation that's been starting prior to this. we've seen people coming out, people like bob costas, even
rupert murdoch, bill o'reilly, talking about sensible measures. the american public wants to solve this problem. and sometimes it takes an event like this really to catalyze things. in 1989 there was a horrible school shooting where 35 people were shot in stockton, california. and that was the catalyst for some of the major legislation that passed soon after that. so i think we have to -- we need to push and it requires the american public speaking up and making their voice heard. but this is a conversation that the american public wants to have. and we need to make sure that congress and the president want to have it too. >> congressman nadler, do you stand with the mayor of new york when he says that what we have not seen is leadership from the white house and not from the congress? >> we certainly haven't seen leadership on this issue in a good number of years. i was heartened that the president said today that we have to take meaningful action. unless that's simply empty rhetoric, that means that the president is thinking, at least, of taking the lead and really
pushing congress on this, which is what it will take. this -- these incidents, these horrible, horrible incidents that tug at all our emotions in which people are killed and now kids are killed are happening more and more frequently. and they will continue to happen more and more frequently until someone with a bully pulpit, and that means the president, takes leadership and pushes congress and pushes the people to pushing their congress members to do something about this. you know, it hasn't been much mentioned in the press, but there was an attack in china today by a maniac on an elementary school with a knife. 22 kids were injured but not killed because he didn't have a gun. >> do you agree with the gun laws here in new york city? do you think that this has curtailed violence in this city? >> well, i think that it has curtailed violence as much as possible. the problem that we have, of course is criminals go to virginia and other places, mostly virginia, buy large quantities of weapons and ship them illegally into new york so they get around the new york laws. which is why i introduced
legislation a number of years ago to limit the number of weapons that a licensed gun dealer could sell to a person, to one a month, i think i said. but -- because no legitimate sportsman needs more than one every -- how many rifles can you have to shoot deer? >> well, today the white house website was flooded with new petitions. but before we get into the x's and o's and crossing the t's and dotting the i's of any kind of legislation, it really needs to be recognized as, for lack of a better term, a game changer, a moment in history where this changes public opinion. do you think we're there? >> i think we will be there if the president exploits it. and otherwise it will go to the next one. >> and dan? >> i want to point out, i don't think public opinion needs to change. it needs to be voiced to our elected representatives.
>> and you think there has been a reluctance for that? >> no, i think there has been a disconnect. which is why we need to be focused. that's why we have come out with this notion of wearbetterthanthis.org. so the american public can stand up and say as a nation we are better than a nation that loses 32 people to gun murders every day. we're better than a nation where we can't send our kids to school without a terrible tragedy like this happening, without fearing for their safety. and when it all comes together and coalesces, the public support is out there. 74% of nra members support criminal background checks. you know, that consensus is out there. we just have to make that felt in the halls of congress. >> but the important political consensus is of the organization the nra that can mobilize numbers of voters who will vote on that issue only. and the nra leadership has been the enablers of the mass murderers. and they've got to be called on it. they've got to be called on it by the president and the leaders of congress to confront the nra leadership, as bob said. nra members, they're okay with reasonable gun controls. the nra leadership has been
fanatic and frankly functions as enablers to mass murder, and they've got to be stopped on that. >> and we just accept at face value some of the rhetoric that -- lindsey graham was on tv the other night saying, you know, in response to talking about sensible gun laws that no, i believe in the second amendment, i like to hunt. you know, that is not contrary to the sensible gun laws that anybody is advocating. you know, when you talk about something like criminal background checks, that has nothing to do with a hunter who wants to hunt or a target shooter who wants to target shoot. >> it's been reported that the shooter had some issues mentally. that's what has been reported. how do we keep firearms away from those who have challenges? >> you require background checks for sale of guns to anyone. you get rid of the gun show loophole where someone at a gun show can sell it to anybody. can sell it to people on the terrorist list. can sell it to convicted pedophiles, can sell to it felons.
and to mentally unstable people. there are ways of the doing that. you know, other countries do it. we're about the only country that doesn't. industrialized countries in the western world, germany, canada, have 150, 170 people killed a year by guns. we have over 9,000. and the only difference is they have intelligent gun laws and we don't. >> and here is one very important basic fact. 40% of all gun sales in america don't require a background check. which means through 40% of gun sales, a convicted felon, a terrorist, somebody dangerously mentally ill can get a gun without any questions asked. >> well, in this situation the mother purchased the firearm. >> yeah. and it's also important when we react to tragedies like this not to strive to prevent every possible tragedy. you know, maybe this one, maybe some others would actually still slip through the cracks. but the bottom line is you talked about the fact that there are 34 murders that happen every day in our country. to the extent that those murders are committed by people who could have prevented from buying guns like without background
checks, then that's the kind of thing we should be talking about. >> or even prevented from buying high -- not high caliber, a high number of magazines so that you can't get a clip that shoots 30 bullets. what hunter needs a clip that shoots 30 bullets with one pull of the trigger? >> congressman jerrold nadler and dan gross, great to have you with us tonight. appreciate your time. we'll have more on today's tragic shooting in newtown, connecticut. stay with us. we're right back.
show" for our continuing coverage of the shooting in connecticut. let's turn now to lieutenant george sinko of the newtown police department. lieutenant, thank you for your time tonight. i know this is not an easy time for you. i don't know how you train for something like this. you're human too. you're not men of steel. you have hearts. you have souls. and this must have been a horrific day for all of your people there at the crime scene. what is the status of the investigation, lieutenant? what can you tell us tonight? >> well, the scene is still ongoing. newtown detectives as well as major crime from the connecticut state police are currently processing the scene. we also have investigators from the state medical examiner's office on scene. >> and has the identification of all of the victims been made, sir? >> no, it has not. as you know, it's a very sensitive matter, and we need to make sure that we're right on that.
we have a lot of families that are hurting right now. and we're doing our best to move quickly with that, but it's a very long process. and so we want to make sure we're right. >> lieutenant, are authorities convinced that the shooter acted alone without an accomplice? >> yes. at this time we have no indication that anyone else was involved, other than the shooter. >> were there any eyewitnesses that have helped out with the investigation at this point? >> well, certainly there is many witnesses, people in the school as well as around it who have contacted us. we're going to follow every lead, every bit of evidence that we can. this is like a puzzle, and we have to put all the pieces together. and we're going to explore every avenue we can to come to a conclusion here. >> and lieutenant, how long will it take to put this together? how long will this be considered
a crime scene? >> well, it's difficult to say. certainly throughout the night we're going to be there. we're going to be there the better part of this weekend. the evidence is really going to take us where we need to go with this one. but certainly through the weekend we're probably going to be working there. >> how much -- was there much cooperation from the shooter's brother? i understand that there was -- he had -- the shooter had his brother's i.d. on him, and there was some confusion. was his brother cooperative? >> we're not going to comment on any of the individuals that we're working with regarding the investigation at this time. we are early into the investigation. and we have many leads that we're going to follow up. and certainly any witnesses or leads will be followed up. >> how is the police force, lieutenant, dealing with the survivors in the community tonight? if you can put into words exactly what the scene is there and what it's like for the community this evening.
>> this is a very close-knit community. people try to help each other out here. they're hurting. the officers, this is a scene that most officers never have to deal with. i was very proud of the way our officers handled the scene. i'm sure a lot of them are going to be hurting after this. it's going to take a long time for everyone involved. but our efforts are going towards helping the family right now. they're the ones who are in our thoughts and prayers. and we're working as quickly as we can to try to give them the answers they deserve. >> and lieutenant, i would venture to say that some of your colleagues haven't been through anything like this before. we're talking about the murder of children. how are they holding up? >> well, right now, you know, they're working off their training and instinct. i'm sure tomorrow when they've had some time to think about it, it may hit some of them harder
than others. we're prepared, you know, to work with any of those officers that may need -- counseling is available if they need it. but we have a strong group, and they're holding out pretty well. >> lieutenant george sinko of the newtown police department, i appreciate your time tonight here on "the ed show." thanks so much for joining us. still to come, more on today's tragic events. i'll talk with msnbc political analyst michael eric dyson and congressman keith ellison of minnesota when we return. stay with us.
tonight. police and fbi agents are still on the scene at this hour. the gunman shot 20 children and seven adults in newtown before 10:00 this morning. school is supposed to be a safe place. the massacre at columbine high school should have been a wake-up call. but shootings on school campuses have increased over the past 13 years. this february a teenager fired into a cafeteria in chadron, ohio. this morning's shooting is one of many horrible tragedies. these are the worst in our history, and all of them have happened since columbine. a man gunned down 32 students at virginia tech back in 2007. a teen took a gun to school and killed nine people in minnesota. teens died at the school shooting in michigan. and five children were gunned down at a amish school in pennsylvania. but here is the most stunning number of them all. there have been 181 major school shootings in the united states
since the columbine massacre. 181 shootings where students were either wounded or killed. many of the school shootings involved teenagers. in los angeles last year, a teenager snuck a loaded beretta into class. the gun went off and wounded two other students. but young children are victims too. in houston last year, a 6-year-old took a loaded handgun to school. the gun went off. three kids were wounded. many in this country say enough is enough. i'm joined tonight by congressman keith ellison of minnesota and msnbc political analyst and georgetown university professor michael eric dyson. gentlemen, thank you for your time tonight. i'll have an open question to both of you. professor, we'll go with you first. we talk about change in society. what does it take for us to change what we are seeing unfold before our eyes? >> well, ed, our hearts go out to all the victims of this most recent crime and tragedy. the reality is we've got to face
the fact that we are addicted to violence in this culture, that at every level we reinforce the notion that violence is an apt resolution of conflict. and beyond that, we've got to deal with the fact that the ready accessibility of guns has led to devastating consequences for untold americans. because it's not only the immediate event that induces trauma, it's the psychic trauma that is endured by those who look at this event and have to relive it time and time again because they were there, or because they look upon it from afar and realize that they are similarly vulnerable. unless we change the gun laws in this country where people have ready access to guns like this that end up, you know, wreaking havoc and devastation upon our culture, we're not going to be able to do anything. and to defend the second amendment as if that's the be-all and end-all without saying as you already pointed out in this program, layers to that. there are conditions to that. there are contingencies to that.
we don't have to have an either we have a radical freedom on the one hand to accept the second amendment or on the other hand we curtail the law in order to defer to our common sense. i think we can have both, and we need to do that right now, or else this will be repeated. >> congressman, what does it take to get change in this country to address what we are seeing, the gun violence in america? >> well, it only takes us to make up our mind that change is going to have to happen now. i mean, this is such a horrific incident, such a tragic incident. not even children, 20 kids are safe in their classroom, that it must stir the heart of the nation. but i've got to tell you, ed, i remember my friend gabby gifford was shot down and her constituents were killed. we thought that would stir the nation. apparently we haven't seen any real action in congress since then. there are heroes, though, ed. i don't want you to get the impression that nobody in congress is fighting for change. >> oh, i know.
there is just not enough of them. >> carol mccarthy. that's right. i'm going to tell you this, though. we're not afraid of the nra. we're ready to confront them. and we have legislation that we want to see taken up that would ban high-capacity clips, stop the gun show loophole, and have mandatory background checks. these are reasonable things. and we need the american people to insist from the white house on down that we take these pieces of legislation up immediately, and that we pass them, and that we confront anyone, these second amendment extremists who think that any kind of sane, sensible gun legislation is going to take guns away. which is ridiculous. >> and gentlemen, i need to point out. mothers against drunk driving made it uncool to drive drunk. >> right. >> and smoking, of course, is
now ruled as uncool in society. but what is it going to take to change the gun culture in america? dr. dyson, in black communities in this country, in poor neighborhoods in this country, we are seeing the penetration of guns and ruining lives. and now we're at elementary schools. >> you're right. >> what do we have to do? this is a culture now of violence. >> you see, drinking and smoking didn't have attached to them the immediacy of a constitutional amendment that would support their ostensible advocates. so when you've got this gun lobby, it's so deep and so profound. and i thank congressman ellison for reminding us that there are those who are heroic in congress who will stand up. but the reality is that gun lobby is so deep, their pockets are so procfound, and they've gt the ability to bully people that we've got to stand up to them and say this is enough. it happens at every level, in white communities, in brown communities, in asian communities, latino communities, we have to deal with it in
america, because it's an american problem. >> seven nfl players -- i just want to point out to you, congressman, that seven nfl players surrendered their weapons this week in the wake of the kansas city chiefs murder-suicide. >> congratulations to them. >> well, your response to that. this was of course before the shooting that took place this morning. i mean, is it going to take that kind of leadership to wake this country up? >> yes, it is going to take that kind of leadership. it's going to take congressional leadership, white house leadership, but also citizen leadership. like you said, you can change culture. we've changed culture in this nation. and when nfl football players are saying you know what? i really don't need this gun around, and i'm giving it up, that is the kind of symbolic gesture that might provoke others to do the same thing. you know, and there are folks out there, americans who are sick and tired of this just -- this promiscuous violence.
you pointed out a great statistic, which is over 180 school shooting incidents since columbine. but i mean, there have been 31 -- there's been 61 multiple homicide incidents as well that don't involve schools and go beyond schools. this is a culture. we've got to change it. >> all right, congressman keith ellison of minnesota and michael eric dyson, great to have you with us tonight. professor, appreciate it so much. >> thanks, ed. >> more on today's tragic events out of newtown, connecticut when we return. stay with us. ur 4,000 television commercials. yep, there i am with flo. hoo-hoo! watch it! [chuckles] anyhoo, 3 million people switched to me last year, saving an average of $475. yeah, i'm kind of a big deal. [sigh] it feels good to help people save... with great discounts like safe driver, multicar, and multipolicy. 731, 732... you want my number, don't you? call 1-800-progressive right now. or visit progressive.com for an extra $50 online savings.
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>> reporter: this is what was supposed to be happening at the sandy hook fire house tonight. a christmas tree sale. instead, firefighters stressed to the limit, all volunteers from the village of sandy hook. so many of those who rushed to the scene this morning know the children in that school, know the families they're comforting now. >> this is most definitely the worst thing that we've had experienced here in town. >> reporter: sandy hook is a quaint new england borough. the river runs past the main intersection. >> there is never any crime here. everybody's happy. it's a family-oriented community. >> reporter: in fact, the local paper says the area was once voted the safest place to live in america. >> this is a phenomenal town to bring your children up in. very quiet, very family-oriented. it's a phenomenal place to live. and things like this shouldn't happen here. >> reporter: at this local methodist church on the main street of town, they opened the sanctuary this afternoon. the red cross is setting up shop in the basement. >> i just want people to know this is a place to come and be with god and try to make some sense of this.
>> reporter: all over town signs ask for prayers for their friends and neighbors. >> i have friends who work in that school. i know families who go there. >> if it affects one person, it affects everybody. whether it's, you know, god forbid, your own kid or not, it's like it's your own. >> reporter: marcy benitez runs a clothing store and haircut salon for kids. like everyone in town, she is heartsick, desperately trying to understand what's happened. >> as heartbreaking as it is for something to happen, but so close to the holidays where everybody is supposed to be happy and presents. >> you've got the little christmas dresses right behind you here. >> yep. >> it breaks your heart. >> to even think about it, it does. it breaks your heart. >> reporter: walking through town we saw state police guiding shellshocked families to their cars. their grief unspoken. but plain to see what this community has been through today is unthinkable. >> everyone is coming together, supporting everyone, working together, trying to answer all the questions as to how and why
this occurred and trying to lend support to all the people involved, including the victims. >> our thoughts and prayers are with everyone affected by this tragedy in that community tonight. coming up, what effect will today's shooting have on the future of our country's gun laws? that discussion is next. stay with us.
this community and every family impacted. i only ask that all of our fellow citizens here in the united states and around the world who have already offered their assistance remember all of the victims in their prayers. >> in the wake of the tragic connecticut school shooting, there is no doubt the debate over gun control will heat up in the coming days and months. new york city mayor michael bloomberg has been front and center in the national discussion over gun control recently. in 2006 mayor bloomberg cofounded the group mayors against illegal guns. 24 group of mayors is dedicated to keeping illegal guns away from criminals. since 2006 the group has grown to over 700 mayors, and now after today's shooting mayors against illegal guns is calling for action to improve national gun control laws. i'm joined tonight by mark glaze, who is the director of mayors against illegal guns. mark, good to have you with us
tonight. i appreciate your time on this horrific evening. what is your initial reaction to today's shooting in light of the fact that we are collectively getting leaders in this country that are trying to forge change? >> well, your first thoughts always go out to the families. we work with hundreds of survivors of gunshot victims around the country. and they really never get over it. and the fact that some of them move on by working with us to change the laws is really awe-inspiring to me. but the second thought is that time after time, when we have the seemingly endless series of mass shootings we have elected leaders go out on the television and say it's not the right time. i was astonished when i heard jay carney at the white house go up to the podium and say now is not the time to talk about our gun laws. and i wonder -- >> when is the time? >> i wonder if he knew he was parroting the nra's talking points. the time is now. the president's words were much better. he went out and said exactly the right things and said we had to place politics aside and do the right thing.
but the truth is i was moved by his words but he's not just the consoler in chief, he's also the commander in chief. and i think this is one of those areas where he's just fallen short and now is the time for him to get it together. >> what do you hear from mayors around the country? obviously they're signed on to this and a part of this organization, but how adamant are they for change? >> mayors are the ones who deal with this every day. and they know how to do it in a way that is consistent with the second amendment, but gets guns out of the wrong hand, because they do it every day. when a cop is shot on the beat, they get the call, they're held responsible. the president doesn't get those calls. members of congress don't get those calls. so it's mayors who think about this pragmatically. many of them are gun owners. many of them are nra members. but they understand that if you give everybody a background check, if you had a federal trafficking statute, if there were an atf director to give that agency the juice it needs to really get the job done, you could do a lot to keep illegal guns out of the wrong hands without doing anything to keep me or you from having all the guns we'd like. >> mark glaze, i appreciate your
time tonight. this may be a moment of change in american history when it comes to firearms. we shall see. appreciate your work. thank you. we as americans will go to sleep tonight with a heavy heart. none of the words we used today seem to describe the heartbreak, the hurt and anger and the range of emotions all of us have felt. our prayers are with the families and relatives of the victims. tonight is a night for understanding. i think we can all understand that. and it's a night that we need to cope with. but i do believe it's also a time we as a people come to grips with a changing society. we need to be the founding fathers on how to deal with the sickness in our country called gun violence. hiding behind the second amendment doesn't cut it anymore. hiding behind the second amendment can no longer be the shield for access. the people who wrote that document owned slaves, oppressed women, and were short on tolerance. i say to you tonight that times change.